Best Digital Pianos for Beginners
The world of digital pianos for beginners is an exciting universe of brilliant devices whose purpose is to bring joy and create beauty. At the end of the day, a piano is a conduit of your creativity and your ability to express yourself through music. But it can be daunting to have to determine what piano is right for you, how will you be using it, and what that user experience will be. Acoustic pianos are naturally the best but they are also expensive investments that require a commitment to maintenance and a lifestyle of a piano owner. For those who are in the early stages of their piano lives and are beginning to adjoin their lives to the presence of this marvelous instrument digital pianos may be the easier and most cost-effective choice. Contemporary digital pianos are light years away from the crude synthesizers of the 1970s and 80s and in fact, provide a valid option for those willing to commit to learning classical piano. The obvious pros are the cost, mobility, and compactness as well as silent practice options with the assistance of headphones.
Here are the things to bear in mind: even the most expensive (super top-of-the-line) digital piano will cost about 20% of the median-priced acoustic piano while the average professional level digital piano will be more like 5%. Digital piano requires no maintenance whatsoever aside from dusting. No tuning, no regulation, no humidifier. Unlike acoustic pianos which are made of wood digital pianos are not susceptible to climate and weather conditions which can be a huge perk depending on where you live and where/how you plan to use your piano. This brings me to the next question: mobility. Most digital keyboards are portable – so you can pick them up and move them anytime anywhere. This is simply impossible with acoustic pianos that require at least two adults to carefully wheel them around. Exposing acoustic piano to the elements outside will inevitably lead to oxidation and damage of all the components – which can devalue and/or destroy the instrument. Digital piano, on the other hand, can be easily and harmlessly set up outside for recreation and performances alike. Naturally one has to avoid direct contact with water – other than that it’s a great contender for all piano things outdoors. Many professional digital pianos can be assembled into a spinet-like setup where it will look like a legitimate small upright piano, while some of the super top-of-the-line digital pianos are shaped like a baby grand piano while being completely digital instruments. Lastly – if you live in an apartment building the silent keyboard option with headphones may be your guarantee of peace unless your neighbors are angels.
And now – on to The List.
10 Best digital pianos for beginners:
1. Alesis Recital – 88 Key Digital Electric Piano Best cheap full size keyboard
This is a simple but reliable entry-level keyboard for beginners that certainly delivers all basic features to get you started playing the piano, particularly at this price point. The first thing that makes it a good beginners piano is that it has 88 keys – a full keyboard standard. It is also very helpful that it has education component designed to make your first steps of learning how to play the piano as effortless and interactive as possible. Lesson, split keyboard and layer modes make in-person or remote teaching/studying fun and engaging. Included with your purchase are 60 Virtual lessons and 3 months of Skoove interactive piano lessons premium membership that should get you going fast. Also this keyboard boasts 128 note polyphony which is remarkable feature at this price point. But due to the ultra reasonable cost of this unit the keys are semi-weighted – as oppose to fully weighted. This affects the realism of the touch. The playing experience does not replicate acoustic piano. Also the sustain pedal is not included with this keyboard while it is a necessary accessory if you are serious about playing the piano – so you would have to make sure you purchase it separately or in a bundle. Also worth noting that piano sound is completely digitally synthesized as oppose to sampled from an acoustic piano; the material is an undoubtedly plastic – so the keyboard does not feel anything like the acoustic piano’s. That said the features and price make this one of the best digital pianos for beginners.
2. YAMAHA P71
This is a really great digital option for an entry-level portable keyboard. Yamaha is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of acoustic pianos so it is only natural that their digital pianos would be high-quality instruments meeting the needs of a beginner as well as a more advanced player. P71 has 88 fully-weighted keys that feel like a real piano. Current sampling technology allows Yamaha to sample the real sound of its acoustic grand piano and endow its digital keyboards with resonant, realistic sound. P71 has 10 different voices and a dual mode that allows a combination of the two: piano sound and strings sound for example. This is a great feature for those to want to get musically creative. While it is well built and uses high-quality plastic the materials are not simulating a real piano feel – but are getting pretty close. This model does not record MIDI which is a function more suitable for advanced piano players. P71 has 64-note polyphony which should suffice for the beginner pianist but would not be enough to accommodate the professional classical piano repertory. Lightweight at only 25 pounds this model is a high-quality option for an entry-level digital keyboard.
3. Yamaha YDP144 Arius Series Piano Best professional grade digital upright
With this model, Yamaha is definitely upping the ante for affordable digital pianos. We think this is one of the best digital pianos for the money as it has all the attributes of high-quality professional pianos. Sampling technology allows Yamaha to capture the unique sound of its acoustic piano and convert this sound into a digital format enabling Yamaha-branded digital pianos to have exclusive voices of Yamaha acoustic instruments. Yamaha YDA144 uses a sample of the flagship concert grand – CFX. Its fully weighted keyboard not only feels like a real piano but also utilizes moisture-absorbent technology to prevent finger slippage due to sweat. Hence the matt black keys. The ever-so-important polyphony clocks in at 198 notes – which is sufficient to perform real challenging classical repertory without loss of notes and sustain pedal compromise. The keyboard rests within the lightweight frame that mimics the small spinet piano – giving this digital piano a look and feel of a real piano. Notable is also the fact that the Graded Hammer Standard keyboard touch is simulated to resemble the physicality of an acoustic piano with lower register keys having more resistance and higher register ones having less. The sustain pedal is more sensitive and allows a progressive application of the sustain function while the half-damper pedal provides a realistic acoustic effect. As a real piano would this piano has 3 functioning pedals (sustain, sostenuto and una-corda). This model also has recording and playback capability which makes it a truly universally useful digital piano for a serious piano student. This excellent digital piano comes in Rosewood and Black Walnut finish and will look sleek and elegant in any space while being extremely space-friendly with its petite dimensions. This piano is definitely not a portable keyboard but it sure does make up for it with professional-grade features, functionalities, and quality of construction. Great value for the money. And while it is packed with professional features it sure tops the list of the best digital pianos for beginners.
4. Donner DDP-100 Best budget cabinet style digital upright
In another corner of this category is Donner DDP-100 which provides wonderful features in a traditional spinet package for substantially less money than higher-end Yamaha. For its price point, this digital piano over-delivers when it comes to its heavy hammer-weighted full-size keyboard, acoustic piano sample voice, and built-in amplifier. It produces a realistic sound quality and has good keys resistance. There are several modes of the style of playing you prefer that adjust the resistance of the keys. The built-in speakers are 25W which lends this digital piano a nice, resonant sound. It only offers piano voice without the other instrument samples like its counterparts but it is justified by the price and quality of the one thing that it is – a great entry-level spinet style digital piano that does its job well. 128 note polyphony insures that classical piano repertory can be played without odd distortions. This model really assists a piano player in progressing forward in their pianism that will translate to the acoustic instrument naturally. DDP-100 has MP3 functionality which enables it to play the files from an external source. The body has a nice wooden finish so it actually looks and feels like a nice musical instrument in the space. Realistically we cannot compare its sound to that of Yamaha’s sampling of CFX concert grand and the ultra-sophisticated scaled hammer action ii of the pricier instruments but for the money, this digital piano definitely delivers a reliable, fine, and elegant solution. And as far as the best options for a digital piano for beginners this model delivers all the necessary features and then some.
5. RockJam 61 Key Keyboard Best 61 keys digital piano
This is a terrific option for a true tech-loving beginner. Very moderately priced this digital keyboard offers a ton of digital ‘bang’ for the buck: 100 instrumental voices, 100 rhythms and beats, and 50 sample songs – as well as recording and playback capability making this 61 keys partial keyboard a little portable band production studio. RockJam pretty much is what it sounds like – a great beginner piano for the creative and technologically inclined mind. Obviously, there is no acoustical instrument sampling here but the sound quality is good for the money and gives beginners an opportunity not only to seat learning the piano but also to compose, produce and play around with the layering of the sounds. The kit comes with everything you need: a foldable stool, stand, music stand, pedal, and even headphones! It’s a one-stop shop for a future pro music producer. And it is very portable – it uses both a power adapter and batteries so one can set it up outdoors for recreation, practice, or a summer-stock performance! We recommend it for more creative musical endeavors such as composing, dj-ing, improvising and sound design as the 61-keys format will suffice for that beauty and all the features will enable a creative endeavor to be exciting and inventive. For learning classical piano, however, one really needs a full-size 88 keys keyboard to ensure the proper development of the micro-coordination of fingers and dimensional awareness of the piano. This digital keyboard also has a Simply Piano app but one has to purchase a subscription beyond the promotional free trial to take advantage of their digital content. This fun digital piano for beginners is a great addition to a more professional 88-key one in our opinion. If you have a spinet-style digital piano or an acoustic upright piano this keyboard is an ultra-portable, feature-packed creative studio. But this 61-key keyboard is not advisable for a serious piano student as it throws the perception of proportions off.
6. Roland FP-30 Digital Piano Best professional keyboard
On the other end of the spectrum is Roland FP30 – a fully professional yet portable digital piano that offers the quality and functionality suitable for professionals as well as beginners. The full-size 88 keys PHA-4 Standard Keyboard with Escapement and Ivory Feel provides a perfect replica of the feeling of playing a real piano. Touch sensitivity adjustment allows for 5 types. Roland’s SuperNATURAL sound technology applies an algorithm to the sample of acoustic concert grand piano giving FP30 a realistic and multi-dimensional long decay. This enables the advanced pianist to utilize their technique and truly play the piano as though it is acoustic internment abiding by the physical laws of sound waves. This alone should put this piano above its counterparts. Add to it a Bluetooth capability, MIDI recording and playback, multiple instruments, dual/split functionality, and acoustic ambiance controls – and you have a real gem of a digital piano for a very good price. The sound quality on this piano is really superb. One of the benefits of the weighted action in conjunction with the superior sound engine is that it creates a realistic touch that is controlled by the pianist. In other words: each pianist will sound different based on how they play the keyboard just as it would be the case with a real piano. FP30 can be controlled via Roland’s Piano Partner 2 app where one can use the educational tool, production tools, and all sorts of creative exercises. It has two headphone/mic jacks which enable it to be plugged into a variety of devices from computers to amplifiers. The ivory feel of the keys is a fantastic surface that replicates the ivory on the older pianos and also absorbs moisture which prevents sweaty fingers. Internal memory can store one song that is recorded on the keyboard while there are 30 native songs programmed into the keyboard. FP30 is compact and light for a professional device but can be assembled into a spinet-style small upright piano with an available kit that is sold separately. The a la carte items are a dedicated stand, 3-pedal board, and keyboard stand. The keyboard comes with sustain pedal but we recommend getting the spinet kit and 3-pedal board for a professional pianist experience. In our experience, Roland FP30 is one of the very best digital pianos out there from every angle and is enormous value for the money.
7. Casio PX S1000BK Best full size compact keyboard
This Casio digital piano is a very interesting member of the beginner digital keyboard segment of the market. A brilliantly designed and sleek keyboard that offers great high-tech features while being uber-minimalist and cool at the same time. The glossy body is button-free as the touch-sensitive controls come aglow once the keyboard is turned on. They remain visible throughout the on-state of the keyboard and fade once it is turned off. Super slim and lightweight Casio Privia px keyboard is very portable and has a battery option that allows you to take it anywhere anytime you want! PX s1000 speaker system directs the sound towards the pianist enveloping you in your music though the volume is not as powerful as one might like for an audience of more than one. The weighted keyboard uses Smart Scaled Hammer Action technology which delivers a believable action but is not on par with that of Roland and Yamaha. Nevertheless, this keyboard has a MIDI recording and playback mode, 18 distinct voices, a duet mode, and all the wonderful goodies one would expect from a higher-priced item packed into a sexy super futuristic package. The ivory feel of the keys is pretty great and moisture absorbing. S1000 also offers great connectivity as you can connect to any Mac/PC/iOS/Android device via a USB port with no drivers or installation needed. Wireless Bluetooth connectivity makes this Casio Privia PX keyboard incredible versatile and easy to use. S1000’s sound engine produces rich string sound with the harmonic resonance between vibrating strings that is realistic and lush. Casio Privia PX also pairs with the Chordana Play app for the educational component. The optional accessories are pedals, stand and bench. Overall Casio PX S1000 is a fabulous choice among the digital pianos for beginners buying something extra special in terms of technology and appearance. And the price point is excellent and for the money, this sure delivers a great value. Casio has been producing digital pianos for a long time so they have perfected many of their hi-tech features that are native to the brand.
8. Yamaha P-45 Digital Piano Light and portable
If you are looking for something very light and portable and not too complicated – Yamaha p 45 is an excellent choice from a brand with a stellar reputation when it comes to all things piano. Yamaha produces one of the best digital pianos in the world for all levels of piano enthusiasts so you can rest assured that basically, all their products benefit from their remarkable strength in that segment of the market. Like most of the great keyboards in this category, Yamaha P 45 has 88 keys with weighted action. Their graded hammer standard represents the experience of playing a real piano quite well. You don’t have to have a very developed finger strength to play this keyboard comfortably yet the more you do you will develop better dexterity as it has weighted action. The advanced wave memory (AWM) tone generator technology provides a realistic grand piano sound. Truthfully it does not compare to the higher-end models that utilize the sampling of the concert grand piano CFX – but if the price is a factor in your shopping consideration this is an excellent model for the money. The simplicity of a one-button control allows you to configure your piano super fast so you can get right to your music-making. This keyboard features USB to host connectivity and comes with an AC adapter. We recommend that you purchase a sustain pedal accessory that is not part of the original package. Yamaha P 45 features 10 voices and is extremely compact and ready to travel wherever you take your music with you. As far as 25-pound portable keyboard goes P45 is a very viable option and with its unique sound and quality build this definitely is one of the best entry-level digital keyboards.
9. Kawai ES110 Portable Digital Piano Best from Kawai
Another excellent keyboard from a fabled Japanese piano maker KAWAI is a pricier option but it sure has its perks which may be worth every penny, depending on your level of advancement and personal taste. Digital pianos for beginners tend to have a lower note polyphony index but KAWAI ES110 has a whooping 192 note polyphony which puts it in the very top tear of digital pianos. Naturally, it features full 88 keys keyboard with Responsive hammer compact weighted action, 19 voices including 8 unique piano tones as well as instrumental voices, and Bluetooth MIDI connectivity. The Harmonic Imaging Sound Technology delivers a specific KAWAI sound characteristic so for a fan of the brand it is a huge plus. The touch-sensitive weighted action is responsive but a bit on the heavy side – which, again may contribute to the closer replication of Kawai’s real piano. For some beginners, it may be too much but for a serious piano student, it may be just a perfect beginner digital piano. This reparable keyboard can transform into an elegant spinet upright with the assemblage kit accessories and will deliver a much more of a real piano experience than a portable keyboard alone. The professional 3-pedal console is part of the kit and the pedal touch sensitivity provided by the half-dampening technology is really excellent. It also comes in classic black and elegant white color so you can express yourself through the color of your digital piano. ES110 comes with built-in Alfred Lessons functionality to assist with music education endeavors. This fantastic digital piano sounds like a Kawai instrument which makes it a truly unique option from among the best keyboards out there.
10. Yamaha YDPS54B Arius Series Slim Digital Console Piano Best stylish console piano
On the higher end of digital pianos for beginners is Yamaha YDPS54B. An elegant and compact console digital piano features a beautiful 88 keys graded hammer weighted action that brings the sampled CFX concert grand flagship sound to life. The hammer action is weighted in a way that is heavier in the lower register and lighter in the top – just like the acoustic piano. The moisture-absorbing matte key tops make the playing experience really remarkably comfortable. This model has 192-note polyphony accommodating most of the classical repertory for a serious pianist. The keyboard has multiple touch sensitivity options and 10 unique voices. It can also connect to Smart Pianist app for educational content and additional controls. Yamaha YDPS54B Arius also has 4 levels of reverb, 2 standard headphone outputs, and a USB port to host connectivity. The powerful 20w x2 speakers deliver in-depth stereo sound feedback that is realistic and beautifully calibrated to fill the room with the real piano sound. This great digital piano is the top-of-the-line option for beginners and comes in elegant black or white. The quality of the build and proprietary technology of Yamaha make the price tag a terrific deal for the quality digital piano in this category. The bench is sold separately but any traditional bench will do as well. As we come to expect from this professional piano maker the quality of all components is top notch and the look of the instrument makes this one of the most elegant keyboards on the market. And above all – it sounds divine.
10 Best digital pianos for beginners:
In the final analysis what determined the best digital pianos depends on what you are looking for and who will be enjoying the usage of the instrument. RockJam keyboard is a terrific choice for a younger music lover with a creative streak who will play around with dance music mode, different sounds, and FX and will want to do so outdoors. For a more serious beginner, the lighter portable keyboards that have weighted keys and themselves clock in at about 25 pounds are great easy options that deliver realistic piano sounds while not breaking the bank.
Portability is an important element as well since if you are going to want to take your digital piano outdoors and/or travel with it the battery’s functionality will be a valuable benefit since obviously it is not easy to find an outlet in the bushes or at the beach. All of the best digital pianos have weighted keys and graded hammer action that truly replicates the sensation of playing an acoustic piano. If that is a priority that looks at those specifications first. So weighted keys are the most important specs to look for in the keyboards if your piano playing is at an advance to pro level.
If the silent practice/study is an objective – look for a headphone jack or two to be available. Without you won’t be able to use headphones and play your keyboard in silence. USB connection is pretty much a standard these days but we recommend checking to make sure the digital piano of your choice has one. Bluetooth connectivity is also something to consider if you are very tech oriented and like to have a wireless connection to the app. MIDI recording/playback capability is an important feature for a pro musician or a composer – without it, you won’t be able to share your tracks. So look for it and make sure it is part of your chosen digital piano features.
The matte keys that absorb moisture and give you the ‘ivory’ feel are also an important consideration when looking at keyboards. For anyone who is used to playing an acoustic piano the feel of the keys is as important as anything else. If you have already spent years playing an acoustic piano the feeling of glossy, plastic keys of a non-pro level keyboard will feel alien and make the playing experience very unpleasant. On the other hand, if you have never played any other keyboards at all it may not be an important factor. Moving up from glossy to matte keys is definitely easier than the other way around.
Note polyphony is very important too as it will enable or prevent you from playing certain repertory at an advance to professional level. Not every beginner digital piano has to have a 192-note polyphony since if you are truly just beginning to play it will be sometime before the complication of your repertory will require this level of computing sophistication. Conversely, if you are already an intermediate to advanced pianist, not having a high note polyphony will make your playing experience inconvenient and less-then as the sounds fall off and the multilayered musical textures will not sound properly.
It is important to have an idea of what your priorities are when looking at the digital piano since some of the key features affect the price and the packaging with other features. Honestly determine what your level of proficiency is, what you will be accomplishing with your piano and how far are you planning to take your playing while using the digital piano.
All in all brands like Yamaha and Kawai specialize in high-end piano manufacturing as well as acoustic pianos, which understandably gives them a leg-up on the competition particularly when it comes to sounds. A sampling of the top acoustic grand pianos, developing proprietary technology that allows the replication of the graded hammer action, and tri-sensor scaled hammer are all attributes of the marquee piano manufacturing brands. If the price is an issue, makers like RockJam, Casio, and Donner present a terrific beginner keyboard without breaking the bank and delivering many of the attractive features of their pricier counterparts. We think the best beginner keyboard is the one that meets all piano needs of the beginner and brings joy and ease of user experience. Natively digital piano brands like Casio and Roland really take the technology to the next level creating a splendid piano playing experience. Roland is more of a professional grade super-digital piano while Casio delivers tremendous quality and value to more of an amateur segment.
As far as the best digital piano is concerned there are a few contenders for the top spot: Yamaha YDPS54B Arius, Kawai ES110 Portable Digital Piano, and Roland FP-30 Digital Piano. If the price were to be a decisive factor Roland would win the best digital piano as its quality-to-price ratio is beyond compare. The runner-up would be Kawai closely followed by Yamaha Arius. But that is if we were only to consider quality/features to price ratio. If we look at the quality and features without money consideration all three deserve a tie. They have remarkable sound quality, touch sensitivity, graded hammer action, and weighted keys that deliver the realistic piano playing experience of a professional level for a sub-professional price. That said – all digital pianos presented in this article are qualified to be called the best digital pianos for beginners in their respective price and utilization categories. So to all piano enthusiasts – let’s get after it! Make some music!
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